Cat Drew explains how the UK’s Policy Lab and GDS data teams are bringing more of a data, digital, and design approach to policy making, showcasing some of the Policy Lab projects that have used ethnography and data science to create fresh insight to change the way we think about policy problems. Cat shares some of the tools she uses to make policy makers curious about data and explores the ethical framework the UK government has recently published to make sure people are using data in a way that the public would accept.
Cat Drew is a hybrid policy maker and designer, with over 10 years’ experience of working in government, including in the Cabinet Office and No.10. She also has a post-graduate education in design, which enables her to seek out innovative, new practices—for example, speculative design and data visualization—and experiment with how they could work in government. Cat works within the Policy Lab, a small unit in the Cabinet Office which supports departments in trying out new, innovative techniques to design policy solutions to tricky social problems. This includes leading multidisciplinary teams of policy makers, ethnographers, and data scientists to work with service providers and users to research, codesign, and prototype new ideas. She also works for the UK government’s Data Science Partnership, which promotes the use of new computer techniques and data to create insight to improve policy making and make government more efficient. Her work focuses on creating an ethical framework to give data scientists and policy makers the confidence to maximize their use of these new tools and techniques. Previously Cat was head of police digitization and neighbourhood policing and worked in strategic roles in the Home Office, Cabinet Office, and No.10.
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